My carousel ballgown was based on a design by Jazzy Cosplay - a good friend of mine who has designed costumes for me over the years. I worked closely with her through the creation process and I was not disappointed by the artwork she created for me. I wanted to do a nod to antique amusement parks, something I've always loved since I was little. I knew I wanted it to be fun- full of all my favorite colors and need for a little craziness - so it was interesting going through the initial part of the design process with her. She named the finished design "Antique Amusements."

After hammering out the design specifics with her, it was up to me to bring it to life. The underside of this dress is definitely not as pretty as what you see on the outside. It's crazily heavy so the base is made out of irrigation piping to hold the full weight of the dress. This is my go to material for constructing heavy ballgowns when I need to make cage skirts quickly and on a budget.

The base itself is essentially three different cages that come apart for easy transport and wearability (they come together surprisingly quickly so I can get in and out of it easily when I need to). The pretty parts of the dress were a lot easier to figure out how to make and a lot more conventional in construction. I made an under-bust corset with puff sleeves for my top and a series of fluffy skirts to cover the cage. The little details of the dress actually took more time than anything else! I went back to Jazzy Cosplay to help me troubleshoot how to construct the carousel and attach it to the dress. Together, we were able to build a fairly stable carousel with a wide enough center for me to stand in for the finished product. It took three weeks total to put all of this together and I'm really happy with the finished product.

I've been totally overwhelmed with the response this dress has gotten! I've been cosplaying with my friends for seven years now and none of my cosplays have ever gotten a response like this one! It's crazy to me and I'm incredibly thankful for all of the love and support I've been receiving. This is the first time people have recognized me from social media at a convention both in and out of costume and it got me a little emotional. It's been a wild ride and a really great experience (even when little kids tried taking horses off my dress)! I'm constantly learning and growing as a cosplayer, so to see a response like this to something I made...It's just a really amazing feeling!

- Candy Heart Cosplay